ORLANDO, Fla. – On Saturday The Florida Department of Health reported 150 new deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those, 44 deaths were reported in Central Florida.
The new deaths bring Florida’s death toll from the virus up to 11,249. The total includes 11,105 residents and 144 non-residents who died in Florida.
Many people who test positive for COVID-19 will have mild or no symptoms at all, which is why it is important to monitor hospitalizations and deaths attributed to the virus.
The FDOH reported 3,197 new COVID-19 cases Saturday bringing the state’s running total since March to 619,003 cases.
As of Saturday morning, there were 3,860 patients currently hospitalized with coronavirus in Florida, according to the state Agency for Healthcare Administration.
The Florida Department of Health reported 285 new hospitalizations on Saturday, bringing the overall total to 38,314 since March.
The positivity rate, which represents the number of people who tested positive for the first time compared to the overall number of tests reported by the DOH for the day prior was 4.97% on Saturday.
The last time the positivity rate was below 5% was over a week ago when health officials reported it at 4.93%.
Florida has seen over two weeks where the positivity rate was below 10% confirming that the rate of infections in Florida is dropping.
Governor Ron DeSantis is pushing for more tourists to visit the Sunshine State via plane.
Gov. DeSantis made the case that tourists could safely take commercial flights to visit Florida, as newly reported coronavirus cases grew by more than 3,800 people Friday, down from peak averages of nearly 12,000 cases daily in mid-July.
Speaking with industry executives at an airline travel forum in Fort Lauderdale, DeSantis said he hadn’t heard of any airline passenger catching the virus on a plane.
“When this industry thrives, it provides this economic security for so many people in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.
Airlines and airport executives told DeSantis that the virus was having the biggest impact on international travel to Florida since many countries had implemented travel restrictions and quarantines on people traveling to and from the United States.
DeSantis said 8.8 million people traveled from March to June in Florida, down from 24 million during the same period a year earlier.
Here are three things to know about coronavirus in Central Florida for Saturday:
- Flying during a pandemic: The largest international airline association and Florida’s governor say passengers on commercial flights are at low risk for contracting coronavirus but with no contact tracing in place for airlines and little data it’s really unclear what is the risk of transmission on planes. DeSantis reassured travelers flying would not increase their chances of catching the virus but didn’t disclose what data or studies could prove that.
- School closes after positive COVID-19 cases: Harmony Middle School will shut its campus down for in-person learning for the next two weeks after 10 staff members tested positive for COVID-19. School District of Osceola County Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace sent a message to parents notifying them of the upcoming closure. Pace said anyone who has come into contact with a confirmed case has already been notified.
- OC player returns: An Orlando City player who received an inconclusive COVID-19 test result earlier this week and was held out of the team’s match against Nashville is now back with the team. The player, whose name has not been released, received negative test results as part of Major League Soccer’s protocol and will be available for the Lions’ match Saturday in Atlanta, the team announced Friday. Orlando City added that the entire team tested negative Friday morning.
Below is a breakdown of COVID-19 cases across Central Florida as of Aug. 29:
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